Government urged to lighten up on 'exorbitant' beer taxes

Our 'exorbitant' beer taxes in the spotlight as UK MPs fire up

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The Poms are frothing, and we get slugged much more heavily.

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Picture: Brodie Weeding.

Picture: Brodie Weeding.

Australian politicians are being urged to slash beer taxes in the wake of an uproar on the issue in the UK.

Tory and Labour MPs have hit out about the severity of beer taxes which, according to the Brewers Association of Australia, are significantly lower than the "exorbitant" taxes paid in Australia.

"We pay a full one third more than them in tax on a beer," Brewers Association of Australia chief executive Brett Heffernan said.

"At $2.26 per litre, Aussies pay the fourth highest beer tax in the industrialised world.

"Australia's beer tax went up last week and it will go up again in August.

"It's been quietly going up every six months since 1983."

Similarly, the Australian spirits industry has argued costs to consumers are being forced up unfairly by high excise levels.

Spirits & Cocktails Australia pushed the issue in the marginal north-west Tasmanian federal seat of Braddon during the 2018 by-election campaign.

It urged an excise freeze, but did not gain firm commitments from the Liberals or Labor.

Mr Heffernan said the federal government netted $3.61 billion in taxes on beer drinkers in 2016-17.

"That's $2.01 billion in beer tax, $201 million in GST on the beer tax, then a further $1.4 in GST at the retail end," he said.

He said freezing Australia's six-monthly beer tax hike would not be good enough.

"All that would do is lock in the extreme beer tax Aussies are already paying," he said.

"Only by cutting the rate of beer tax can punters see serious relief at the checkout and in the pub."

The story Government urged to lighten up on 'exorbitant' beer taxes first appeared on The Examiner.

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